VIEW | GREAT ART IN UGLY ROOMS
At first we were like, is this for real? How is this done? No, this can’t be legit. These photos are done so well that it’s really difficult to tell how these infamous works of art are literally displayed in such sad settings. The Tumblr and Instagram account has been called, “The enchanting train wreck that occurs when a truly great work of art is juxtaposed with the most revolting of interiors.” Whether it’s Barbara Kruger artworks in an outlet store or a Jackson Pollock painting in a portrait studio, the combination of high art and kitsch interiors make us simultaneously giddy and nauseated. One of our personal favorites (not just because it’s an Austin icon....ok, well maybe a little) is the Daniel Johnston hanging in a disheveled, grimy and abandoned motel room, door swung open to the elements of the dirty streets. While flipping through we found ourselves laughing, groaning in amusement and agony, then laughing again. See for yourself, it’s an amusing experience and you just might have to see all 277 of them.
DINE | JAPAN HOUSE - LOS ANGELES
We waded through the muck, mire, noise and sea of tourists on Hollywood Blvd, surviving only to enter a multi-level outdoor mall known as the Hollywood & Highland entertainment center. This couldn’t be the right location, could it? Once we trekked to the top level, we knew we were in the right place - we had arrived at the Japan House. The silence, the view of the city, the Japanese art, library and event space, (all impeccably designed), made the ambiance all the more dumbfounding. Upon entering the dining area we were further baffled by the fact that the renowned sushi master Mori Onodera was there to greet us from behind the bar. It’s near impossible to describe watching and interacting with a master chef, artist and legend as he prepares edible morsels that are beyond explanation. (We hate to do it but Jiro Dreams of Sushi can almost get you there. Almost.) From the most important and perfectly made rice to the Maguro, Kampachi and Santa Barbara, just to name a few, the night had only begun. Tai Kabuto-yaki (grilled sea bream head), Kampachi Kama-yaki (grilled yellowtail gill and grilled salmon belly) - it seemed like it would never stop. Every single process of preparation, each delectable ingredient, was elegantly and exquisitely prepared. Three hours later and a final cup of the best Miso soup ever conceived, we decided that we’d had as many Saki samplings as we could handle and that it was time to descend the multiple levels back into the real world. After experiencing the Japan House, we’re worried the real world will never be the same. You too can have your world changed though, just be sure to make reservations. PS- We haven’t been to them (yet) but we read that there are also locations in London and Sao Paulo.
BUY | NINTENDO ENTERTAINMENT: NES CLASSIC EDITION
Somewhat ironic to tell you to get on your phone and buy this invaluable piece of nostalgia that will then show up on your doorstep within 24 hours, but we’re going to do it anyway. Remember going to the mall for the latest cartridges, taking them home and spending days playing The Legends of Zelda, Tetris, Super Mario Brothers, and ExciteBike? Well, a few years back Nintendo released the NES Classic Edition, a miniature version of the NES console from 1985, and it was near impossible to get your hands on. Now thanks to a third party through, Amazon you can pick one up for for $80! You can also check out eBay: it’s selling refurbished (by Nintendo) models for just $50. Can you imagine? $50-$80 to buy back countless hours of your childhood? Relive dozens of days of pixelated digital wonder, and the miniature retro console is decked out with all the bells and whistles to easily work with any modern TV. There’s an HDMI cable, an AC adapter and an NES Classic Controller. It also comes with 30 built-in games, including what we feel are the most important.
GET | FRICTION: PASSION BRANDS IN THE AGE OF DISRUPTION
Well this book blew our socks off. The basis is how industries all over the world are being disrupted and losing air-time to startups that are creative enough to capture more and more awareness every day in new ways. Mainstream brands are no longer built through simply “interruptive” or creative advertising, and many of them know that a new approach is needed but don’t know how to change. The authors of Friction say that brands don't need clever messages or new, shiny technologies - they need a fundamental change to embrace transparency and honesty in order to engage audiences, and create customers with a shared mission. They call them brand evangelists. So how do corporations separate themselves from their legacy business models and become a passion based brand? No more traditional advertising! The new brand is one that empowers its customers and ultimately wins the game because of its loyal team. Hidden in the chapters are nuggets of knowledge and action points that can be applied to your personal life as well, and they’re quite profound. Like friction against all of the normal modern day thoughts.
READ | HERE'S TO YOU, MR NICHOLS: THE MAKING OF THE GRADUATE
After seeing Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, we were reminded of an article that ran in Vanity Fair years ago about a band of outsiders making a major Hollywood picture. Here’s to You, Mr. Nichols: The Making of the Graduate by Sam Kashner is a romp through late 1960s Hollywood that involves ruthless artistic choices and a spectacularly talented (albeit undeniably green) group of filmmakers in equal measure. The critically acclaimed classic film about a disillusioned college grad afloat a vapid sea of Beverly Hills pomp remains as relevant and intoxicatingly funny today as it ever did. The story behind how the film came to fruition is as mesmerizing and fraught with conflict as the celluloid masterpiece itself. It’s a great poolside read that chronicles the mercurial taste of studio execs and the uncompromising vision of a budding auteur. Production antics involve passing on Robert Redford for the lead, firing Gene Hoffman mid-production, deliberately costuming Anne Bancroft in a string of head-to-toe leopard print ensembles, and the slings and arrows of painting the untouchable flora and fauna of Beverly Hills on the silver screen. It’s a nostalgia piece with much to say on how inclusion and parity has grown in an industry still clawing its way toward true equality. Much like Tarantino’s latest opus, it’s a tour through the flawed Hollywood of yore guided by the lens of artists who care deeply about both their contemporaries and the artistic integrity of their work. It’s a tale of outsiders. Who doesn’t love those?
ADMIRE | DASHIELL MANLEY
To call Dashiell Manley a prolific artist would be an understatement. The young artist’s scope of work spans from streamlined and geometric political commentary to sprawling, euphoric paint drenched canvases. We’re enamored with the broad point of view in Manley’s collection. He keeps a studio in East Los Angeles, where he moves from one modality to the next with relentless ease. He creates wildly disparate works simultaneously and is a bit of a yin yang visionary. His portfolio includes double-sided works, multi-dimensional objects, illegible writing, and layer on layer on layer of imagery and abstraction. We’re particularly enamored with his unrestrained textural paintings, which manage to evoke as much decadent splendor as quiet order.